Monday, October 30, 2006

A week's taste of a life to be

Where there are rigid and angular and modern structures, where buildings probably came first before the trees and plants, where everything is in its proper place and where rules are made to be followed and not broken - here is a place I consider one of my 'second homes', where the 6th Ateneo National Writers Workshop was held.

One week in that campus taught me that UP does not have the monopoly of lovable quirky and eccentric people - other schools also have their fair share. I learned that I know close to nothing and that I haven't really done anything to be proud of yet.

One week in a cold conference room - dedicated to one born on Christmas Day- I learned that even 6 cups of coffee cannot keep you awake or wipe the 'required' look off your face. Here, where I cannot be without my trusty, blue, macrame jacket, I learned the value of having a poker expression and an eager heart.

One week in a room of 6 beds, 2 electric fans, one aircon and one bathroom taught me that even though at first glance people seem different from you - deep down they are not. All fourteen of you who lie on green bedsheets to rest at night (at least for a week) have the same passion and desire - it is only manifested in different genres, styles and voices.

In that semi-open space where green chairs, metal benches and plastic tin cans which serve as ashtrays abound, many conversations - serious or trivial - were woven in the history and memories of the fellows. You can learn a lot more in an hour of meaningful conversation than 5 hours of lecture in a class where the teacher does not like what he's teaching. In this gathering place where the cigarette smoke sometimes hurt my eyes - I met kindred spirits.

Over bottles of beer, fish crackers, calamares and baked tahong - I learned that laughter can be so fake it becomes real. And that having fun starts from scratch but once it gets going, it's hard to stop. I now know that my throat will hurt after attempting to make my voice audible over very loud music(?) and make sense at the same time - and that I will desperately fail every time. That night affirmed my preference for quiet places where coffee and ambiance is served rather than alcohol.

But when it's all over and done, I realized that over talent and craft - will, passion and desire will keep you going. My hands are trying hard to catch up with the constant churn of my mind. One week. Innumerable epiphanies. New friendships. Untainted memories.

So for all that, thank you.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ten things I hate (and love) about you

I love the way you remember what kind of food I like and don't like.

I love it when you smile your real smile - you look like a delighted kid.

I hate the way you're so responsible ALL the time.

But I love that you do know how to have fun.

I love it that you encourage not only me but other people as well.

I hate it when most of your observations hit right home,

but I love the way you tell me things I hope you don't tell anyone else.

I hate how you're appropriate in most circumstances
- it's hard to catch you off guard.

I love the way you love our God and find ways to serve Him.

But mostly I hate it the way we're really perfect for each other
and yet we're just friends.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Reflections after the storm

As Luzon experienced the wrath of "Milenyo", all of us have different stories to tell and here's mine. I heard from my Diliman based friends that the day before the typhoon struck, the weather seemed fine - just a little gloomy. Well, since I'm based in Los Baños during weekdays, it was different for us. Wednesday pa lang, super rain na. Non stop. But since the weather is always kinda screwed up in Los Baños, it wasn't really alarming.

I was planning to have a movie marathon at home on Thursday because classes were suspended. But unfortunately, the power black out interrupted my plans. But that wasn't the worse of our problems. Rain started to pour real hard and our apartment was getting pretty flooded. We had to rearrange furniture and beds and other stuff - not without bickering of course (with a houseful of crabby girls, what do you expect? =P)

My housemates and I lingered in bed for about two hours until we heard the cries of our hungry stomachs. The problem was we couldn't go out of the house because outdoors were a bloody mess - branches and parts of the roof flying, flood water halfway to our knees, and biting wind and rain. Plus, we couldn't cook because our stove was electric.

Thank God for boy neighbours who are also VCF members, They faced the storm head on and bought food for us. To think these were the neighbours my housemates often complained about (because they were so noisy all the time), so it was very humbling.

I was really just so thankful that I was indoors at that time because when the rains and winds finally subsided, we went out and saw the real damage. The big acacia trees in our campus were uprooted, a bridge was destroyed - our campus looked liked a war zone. As my friend coined, "disasterland."

There were a lot of people also out searching for food, batteries and other necessities. Me - I forced my housemates to go out so we could find tripleA batteries for my mp3 player - yeah, I know, I'm so bratty. Anyway, as we were on our way home, I overheard some student council folks looking for people to help those whose homes were flooded. I felt a liitle shallow and trivial because here I was only concerned about my stupid mp3 player when there were matters that were of more urgency.

The next day, my room mate (Carmel), my sister and I went home by bus. We passed by other barangays of Los Baños and Calamba and were met by mud, floods and traffic. We left at about 10:30am and got home by 3pm. Talk about cramps. I really felt sad because there were landslides and people whose homes and business were destroyed. I saw this lamp shop in LB where most of their lamps were damaged and the owners were just sitting around looking very dejected and helpless. We also passed a bus sandwiched by those big steel billboards. Seeing all these made me very annoyed with other people in Manila who made it seem that what they experienced was the end of the world - because I had seen worse.

Of course, all bad things must end and as the Good Book says, "though the sorrow may last for a night, joy comes in the morning." And with 'Milenyo' this was a bit literal. Friday was so sunshine-ny it was hard to believe that Thursday night happened at all. I never experience a storm this paralyzing - no electricity, no cell sites, few open banks - let us go back to the primitive way of living haha.

One of the good things that happened to me was Ateneo called on Saturday and said that I was accepted for the writer's workshop. I'm still paranoid about it and I keep thinking that maybe they called the wrong number or they thought I was somebody else. The downside of this is I would not be able to watch UECG's Experiencing God the musical because the organizers want us checked in at Ateneo by Oct 22, afternoon. Too bad. So I'll just watch the technical dress rehearsal.

And now, we have no classes for an entire week until UPLB administration gets back on its feet and the campus is up and running again. This is bad news for me because classes will be extended and all my stuff's in LB so I can't do any work whatsoever. I don't know, maybe I'll just try and make the best of the forced vacation.

This storm really made an impact to me because it made me realized that there are more things important than what is going on in my life. My concerns seem trivial vis-a-vis the real problems of other people. Plus, "Milenyo" taught me to be grateful for all the things I had and the people who loved me. I learned that when it comes to the nitty-gritty, I really have almost nothing to complain about.